Noah, the Carrier

by Kristin Dimitrova

Noah told it differently.

To the Jewish delegation he said
after the raven he had sent out a dove –
Lo! she returned with an olive leaf.

The dove is the white herald of joy, pure soul of the innocent
foretokening new life.

The founding fathers approved the tale
and included it.

To Gilgamesh, however, he put it like this:

I sent out a dove but she came back.
I sent out a swallow, she also returned.
Finally, I sent a raven:
never saw him again –
then I knew he had found
dry land and prey.

The raven is the black warrior among birds, a circling cut
in the good sky, first witness of the last transformation.

This was the language of Gilgamesh.

Left to himself,
Noah murmured

‘Truth does not
make a good myth
yet only myth can carry it.’

He could clearly remember
it was the flies
that discovered the ark.

Trans. from the Bulgarian by Gregory O'Donoghue

A Visit to the Clockmaker, Southword Editions, Ireland, 2005.

Kristin Dimitrova's picture

Kristin Dimitrova (born May 1963 in Sofia, Bulgaria) is a poet, writer and translator., Her books of poetry include Jacob’s Thirteenth Child (1992), A Face Under the Ice (1997), Closed Figures (1998), Faces with Twisted Tongues (1998), Talisman Repairs (2001), The People with the Lanterns (2003) and The Cardplayer’s Morning (2008)., A Visit to the Clockmaker (2005) was published by Southword Editions, Ireland, and My Life in Squares (2010) by Smokestack Books, UK. Dimitrova is a five-times winner of different national poetry-of-the-year awards, among which the Association of Bulgarian Writers Annual Prize (2003)., Among her works of fiction are the novel Sabazius (2007), winner of the Hristo G. Danov National Award in 2008 and shortlisted for the Canetti Prize, and the two short stories collections: Love and Death under the Crooked Pear Trees (2004) and The Secret Way of the Ink (2010). Dimitrova is the co-scriptwriter of The Goat (2009), a feature film directed by Georgi Djulgerov., Dimitrova’s translation of a selection of poems by English metaphysical poet John Donne, The Anagram (1999), brought her the Union of Bulgarian Translators Award., Poems, short stories and essays by Kristin Dimitrova have been translated into 22 languages and published in 25 countries.

Last updated October 02, 2011